The Glass Mask

It is often said that people who throw stones shouldn’t live in glass houses. According to the Origins of Sayings website (1), “the proverb has been traced back to Geoffrey Chaucer’s ‘Troilus and Criseyde’ (1385)”. I found it interesting, however, that it appears that the proverb we have today is not Chaucer’s original meaning. Chaucer said, “And for sure, he who has a head of glass, should beware of any hostile stones that pass!” (2) If you read the lines before this one you will see that he is referring to not expressing your feelings (specifically to a love interest) if you are afraid of rejection. That is a completely different meaning than what we have arrived at today. The next reference is more in line with the modern meaning: “George Herbert wrote in 1651: ‘Whose house is of glass, must not throw stones at another.’ This saying is first cited in the United States in ‘William & Mary College Quarterly’ (1710),” (1).

But I am intrigued by this notion of a glass house and more along the lines of what Chaucer intended. Sadly, it is what I so often see among transgenders, except it is more of a glass mask than a glass house. They (and if you don’t know, I was one for nearly a decade) live in a fragile world that is built upon promises that never come to pass. You begin to believe the lie that you were born in the wrong body, usually early in childhood. Many have suffered sexual abuse, compounding other emotional problems or, in many cases, the abuse causes the emotional problems. Either way, the child begins to believe they were meant to be something they are not. I have heard from many that, like myself, as young children prayed and asked God to turn them into the opposite sex. When their prayers go unanswered, they turn to their own means of bringing about their fantasy.

Tragically, the transgender person is continually faced with the reality that they are living a lie. Many see and hear of the glamorous lives of those portrayed in media and believe, they too, will be as happy and free. There is a perceived happiness because there is promised happiness. It was exciting as I took each step toward manhood: each step affirmed and encouraged – each step a little closer to freedom. It was absolutely maddening when I realized, shortly after my chest surgery, that I was no more a man than before. I was simply without breasts. All that had changed was the outer shell. I was furious: this was supposed to fix it because now I looked like a man on the outside (along with facial hair, masculinized features, and a slightly lower voice). Now, I was legally male and I was perceived as male. Determined, however, to become the man I felt I was, I had two additional surgeries, removing all female organs. I was certain this would fix it: I would never again have menstrual cycles and I would not have ANY female organs. Surely that would make me a man.

I was devastated: I had still not become a man. Again, I felt exposed. But I was determined not to be a woman. I was ashamed of being a woman. I could not even stand to look at my own genitalia. I wanted it fixed so badly. But one day I realized, even if this (my prosthetic penis) were physically attached to me, it would not make me a man. It would still be fake. I can not ever have a real one, no matter how badly I want it. And, over time, I came to the crushing realization that gender was much deeper than the physical body parts. I discuss in my article https://transgendertotransformed.com/faulty-evidence/ the reason for this. Body parts are simply the evidence of gender, they do not determine the gender. Therefore, changing the parts, real or fake, doesn’t change the gender, it merely alters the evidence.

However, these cracks in the glass mask in which transgenders hope to feel protected leave them feeling exposed. It is a frightening reality to face as you transition from believing you will be free to realizing you have become a prisoner at your own hand. In a desperate attempt to create your own identity, you have entombed yourself in a living hell. But this does explain why transgenders will often lash out at those who attempt to remind them of who God created them to be. Reminding them of the truth can literally be unbearable. But, as I stated, this life that promises to be freedom becomes a tomb, and many feel trapped. That is why it is loving to crack that fragile shell, even though it causes pain. They must be reminded of who they truly are.

I once stated, early in my transition, that I felt as if I had been wearing a mask my entire life, but no one else realized it. Everyone believed that what they saw on the outside was who I was. But once I began to transition, I was finally able to remove that mask. I was devastated to discover that the opposite was true: it was the transgender identity that was fake. As badly as I wanted it, it was never going to be real. What I didn’t understand then is that I hadn’t been as hidden as I had believed. Years before I realized I could never be a man, I remember looking at my partner (who was a male-to-female transgender) and realized in frustration that he was clearly not a woman. It was so obvious to me, why couldn’t he see it? No amount of makeup, wigs, pretty shoes, or purses was going to make him a female. Even if he had had surgery, there was something deeper in him that made him male. I didn’t understand it at the time. It was just something I innately knew. I have seen that with many others I had met at the support group as well. Some were better at impersonating than others, but there was still a clearly defined gender that was deeper than the outer shell. This is why I say it is like living in a glass mask: you believe you are hidden and that no one can see, that no one will ever know the truth. Yet sadly, it is obvious to everyone but you, people see through right through the facade. It is a tragic reality you cannot escape but to embrace who God created you to be.

References:

1: http://originsofsayings.blogspot.com/2006/08/people-who-live-in-glass-houses-should.html

2: https://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/English/TroilusandCressidaBkII.php

By Laura Perry

I am a former transgender set free by the resurrecting power of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.

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